WARWICK, RI — Republican candidate Sue Stenhouse filed her first campaign finance report of the 2018 mayor’s race this week, showing that she is trailing far behind Mayor Joe Solomon, who decisively won the Democratic primary in September.
Understanding that fundraising is only a proxy for voting trends, it does tend to indicate the level of a candidate’s support among likely voters.
In the summary of campaign activity Stenhouse filed with the Rhode Island Board of Elections yesterday, she reported raising $13,368 in individual and party contributions and adding another $2,000 personal loan, and spending about $11,500 on campaign-related expenses, like advertising and fundraising events.
For a first-time mayoral candidate, that’s a respectable showing, especially since the majority of her contributions, almost $9,000, were made after the Sept. 12 primary.
And it provides an early answer to one of the questions about Stennouse’s potential in the mayoral race — whether she can raise the money to fund a competitive campaign. Still, while Stenhouse’s early results look positive, she has to make up a lot of ground, quickly.
That’s because Solomon went into the primary with about $219,000 in his campaign coffers, and in the time since, added another $8,275 in contributions while spending $30,615, according to his campaign finance report. About half of that spending went to BlueWave Consulting LLC of Jamestown for professional services.
Of the remaining $196,000 in Solomon’s campaign accounts, $100,000 is from a loan he provided earlier this year.
The bottom line: While Solomon has a 50-1 funding advantage with 28 days to go until Election Day, it’s not the only indicator of how he may fare. Stenhouse has a lot of ground to cover in a short time, and could still make this a competitive race.